CSCI-UA.0480-008: FAQ

What is the prerequisite? (Albert lists several things.)
The true prerequisite should read "B or better in CS202 or instructor approval." That is, anyone who has a B or better in CS202 in any section is deemed to be prepared, no questions asked. If you did worse than that in CS202, or you have not taken CS202, then I'd like to get a sense of your background.

What should I do to register?
If you have a B or better in CS202, please send me an email with your transcript, and I'll reply with a registration code. If you do not, then please send me email (again with your transcript), and we can meet and see whether it makes sense for you to take the class.

My C programming is rusty/weak/underdeveloped. Am I going to be okay?
Yes. You may need to leave extra time for the first few labs.

Is the workload going to kill me?
I hope not. The intent is that if you've had a class that has asked for substantial implementation exercises before, then you should find this class normal. If you have not had such a course, then the class may feel challenging at first, but (a) it will be the good kind of challenge (you'll be gaining skill), and (b) it should still be doable.

Is the workload going to kill my transcript?
Okay, no one has actually ever asked that question (in those terms), but the short answer is no. My exams tend to have low means, but I arrange to have the final letter grade distribution be generous. (Also, when considering the fraction of As, Bs, etc., I count dropped students in the denominator; this works to the advantage of those in the class.)

I haven't taken CS202, but I am excited for a challenge. What should I do to prepare?
Work through the labs from a previous OS course! (And note that only glancing at exercises and labs doesn't generally build skill; you really have to sit down and do the exercises.) Here are the labs from CS202 in Spring 2015. Most of them come with grading scripts, so you can gauge your progress.

I heard your CS202 class last spring was scary. Will this class be scary?
My CS202 class last spring was attempting to build implementation skill and OS knowledge, and it was indeed more difficult than students were expecting. (There is also the fact that academic integrity was aggressively enforced, with many referrals; some students were clearly not expecting this.) Nevertheless, I don't think most students were genuinely terrified. Here is the summary of the anonymous evaluations.

Should I take the class?
Yes, of course! It'll be fun and educational, so why not? Seriously, if you think you might be interested in the specific topics, or in systems generally, or possibly in CS research (PhD programs, etc.), then you should check it out.

Last updated: 2016-04-15 16:24:03 -0400 [validate xhtml]